"I was a mess." That’s how Kelly Sopher describes herself circa 2013, when she weighed 228 pounds.
"That’s when I made the decision to take control of my life and make myself and my health a priority."
One year later, Sopher had lost 60 pounds and was living a completely different life.
"I did things I had never done," says Sopher, a 47-year-old resident of Lemont. "I climbed mountains, kayaked, mountain biked, all things I would not have had the energy or courage to do prior to my new lifestyle."
Sopher attributes that new lifestyle to the Edward Medical Weight Loss Clinic and Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness.
Sopher was the Weight Loss Clinic’s first patient when it opened in 2013. The Clinic offers a multidisciplinary approach to weight loss that uses medical monitoring, guidance on nutrition and exercise, and psychological counseling regarding food and addiction.
In some cases, like Sopher, treatment may include the medically supervised use of FDA-approved weight loss medications on a short-term basis.
The Clinic emphasizes that dietary changes are the primary focus for weight loss. However, patients are not told to count calories or track carbs. Instead, they’re given healthy eating guidelines, like eliminating soda.
Sopher, who loves to cook and loves red wine, is a big fan of the Clinic’s dietary approach.
"I eat whatever I want, but you have to be mindful of portions," she says. "It’s about moderation and balance. If you have a day where you allowed yourself excess, you need to be more strict the next few days or do a little more movement."
That’s where Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness (EEHF) comes in. As part of her new lifestyle, Sopher started working out and taking classes at EEHF’s Woodridge location, 6600 S. Route 53.
"I was hitting the gym four to five days a week (in the first year),” recalls Sopher, who has a "take no prisoners" approach to her workouts. "I don’t do anything half-way. Even though I’m the fat girl, my butt works hard, I don’t mess around."
Sopher prefers group classes — she’s taken part in boxing and 6-pack abs.
"I’m better in a class when there’s an instructor and accountability, and because I paid for it."
When going solo, she likes to work out on the elliptical machine and treadmill, and also enjoys lifting weights.
The real challenge has been maintaining her original weight loss. Sopher, a single mom with a 12-year-old daughter, has new and more responsibilities at work following a promotion to System Director, Property Management for Edward-Elmhurst Health.
As a result, she hasn’t been able to make it to the gym as often as she’d like and regained 15 of those 60 pounds she had lost. But, Sopher is undeterred.
"You can’t stay sedentary," she says. "If I can’t get to the gym, I park a little further away, take the stairs instead of the elevator. There are little things you can do in your day-to-day life that add up.
"My new lifestyle has been fun and opened up a whole new world to me. If my story could inspire just one other person to make healthy choices and join me on this journey, I would be honored."
Learn more about Edward-Elmhurst Health’s weight loss services and Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness.
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